Senator Roth Celebrates Mental Health Investment in Proposed State Budget during PTSD Awareness Month

June 18, 2018

(SACRAMENTO) – June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and today, Senator Richard D. Roth is applauding the State Legislature’s $40 million investment in mental health in the 2018-2019 proposed state budget.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have increased in almost every state over the past 20 years. In California, the rate has risen by nearly 15 percent. These rates are even worse for veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans have a 22 percent higher risk then non-veteran adults of committing suicide.

“While today’s servicemembers returning home may not experience the disdain our Vietnam veterans did, they are returning to a bitterly divided modern society, which can lead to mental health issues like alienation, depression, and even suicide,” said Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside). “This rise in suicide and depression rates leads us to the indisputable conclusion that our veterans need help and need it now.”

The PTSD Foundation of America estimates that one veteran is lost every 65 minutes to PTSD. In recent years, it's estimated that over 20 percent (1 in 5) veterans returning from Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The $40 million investment in the 2018-2019 proposed state budget helps address this need by increasing the number of medical residency programs – including psychiatry – in medically underserved areas. The investment includes a $15 million tele-psychiatry program at the University of California, Riverside’s Medical School, using mobile treatment vans and computers to bring help to those who need it the most.

Senator Roth continued: “We must recognize the mental health challenges facing so many, particularly veterans returning home. Failure is not an option; I’m proud of the work the Legislature has done to ensure California’s budget invests in this crisis.”

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Senator Richard D. Roth represents the 31st State Senate District, which includes the communities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, March Air Reserve Base, Moreno Valley, Norco, Perris and Riverside. Prior to his election, he served for 32 years in the United States Air Force, retiring in 2007 in the grade of Major General.